I’m a 77 year old retired physician. For 1 year I had severe sciatic pain radiating from my right lower back to my right lower leg. I couldn’t walk more than 50 feet before the pain became severe. Dr. Georgiy Brusovanik performed surgery at Doctors hospital in Coral Gables replacing all the disk in my lumbar spine because the degeneration was severe.Procedure was done in two stages.The surgery was very successful.My recovery each time was shorter than i expected.I am now able to walk my dogs up to 12 city blocks per day.I am very pleased with the care i received and feel that Dr. Brusovanik expertise and kind manor helped me to achieve the success i had.
Dr. Burton Silver
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ABOUT Spinal Cord Compression
With time, the bones and disks of our neck may change shape and the delicate architecture that leaves space for the spinal cord and the nerves changes as well. The rings of the vertebrae of our neck must line up perfectly to create space for the spinal cord. If the space is limited, one may start to have spinal cord disease or myelopathy.
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Myelopathy, begins with neck pain that shoots to shoulders, arms, forearms and hands. Patients may notice issues with balance and coordination, difficulty handling small objects such as buttons and coins and finally neck pain.
The progression of myelopathy occurs in a “step wise” patterns. Patients notice a deterioration in balance and hand coordination and then learn to function within the limits of their tight spinal canal. About a third of patients get better with time. About two thirds stay the same or deteriorate. Some patients may only feel hand numbness, others may loose hand strength and function altogether. When urinary incontinence starts or when patients become dependent on a wheel chair for long period of time, the chance that surgery will help decreases. However, if spinal cord compression is caught early and surgically corrected, the progression of myelopathy is halted.
Physical therapy and injections may help, but do not usually provide lasting relief from myelopathy. A short course of steroids can be tried to relieve some of the swelling that is associated with spinal cord compression. A steroid injection can help decrease swelling of the spinal cord as well as help with the inflammation of the nerves.
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When spinal cord compression causes balance and coordination issues, a steroid injection may actually create more pressure on the spinal cord and worsen the symptoms. It is important to critically evaluate the MRI with your spine surgeon.
There are a number of minimally invasive surgical options if the patient does not get better with conservative means:
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The rehabilitation after neck surgery takes about 6 weeks. Patients usually complain that their neck feels heavy and tired after a long day. However, when motion that was causing pain before surgery is stopped, pain improves, and hence patients feel better. Furthermore, when compression on the nerves is removed, patients often feel dramatic relief in the arms, forearms and hands. There are numerous approaches to treat spinal cord disease and it is important to tailor the approach to each patient individually to minimize risk and allow the best chance for a fast recovery.
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